City Council OKs $9.7 million facelift for parking garage on Market

05/20/2014 11:52 AM

05/20/2014 11:52 AM

The old Macy’s parking garage at 215 S. Market will get a facelift before it reopens for parking around the first of the year.

The Wichita City Council unanimously approved a $9.7 million makeover Tuesday for the idled parking garage, designed to put the facility’s 550 parking spots back in use as the area grows.

Bids will go out next month for repair and cosmetic surface coating work, said Alan King, the city’s director of public works. The garage should be done late this year or early in 2015, he said, and some parking will be available in the 1966 structure before work is complete.

The council approved a partial 240-spot renovation at $6.9 million last month. But city officials shifted gears upon council request, concerned that a phased project would cost at least $500,000 more than renovating the entire garage now. It also would slow the marketing of several development projects downtown, including the city’s efforts to find a new tenant for the nearby Finney State Office Building.

The change will cost an additional $2.8 million. It will use capital improvement funding offset by the delay of street projects downtown, City Manager Robert Layton said.

City development officials said they think the extra parking stock could trigger more retail and residential development in the area as well, including the old Allis Hotel site on Broadway and a vacant spot on the south side of Douglas.

The old garage probably won’t look the same, Layton said. Those surface coatings can be colored to liven up the old concrete structure.

It wasn’t immediately clear what color scheme would be chosen, but staffers and council members were chuckling over turning the garage black and gold.

The garage vote, initially earmarked for the council’s no-discussion consent agenda, was pulled by council member Lavonta Williams, who wanted to offer her public endorsement of the change.

She asked Layton to maintain delayed downtown street work on Commerce and St. Francis as priorities when the city updates its capital improvements plan this summer.

Layton said the projects will be pushed back to 2016 in the plan, and surface parking work along Commerce will continue as planned.

The city took ownership of the garage in November, after closing the crumbling nine-story building \in May 2012 because of safety concerns.

Main and Market LLC, a Chicago-based property investment company, owned the garage, while the city owned the land beneath it. The garage owner stopped making lease and tax payments on the structure.

The city sued to foreclose on the garage in January 2013. In September, it won a judgment against Main and Market for $239,000 for back lease payments and taxes, and $4.85 million for devaluing the property.

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the discussion

is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service